The story of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh known for fathering more than 100 children and crafting the first ever peace treaty is part of a new exhibition to visit Australia.
Centred around Ramses II, the exhibition at the Australian Museum in Sydney showcases 182 artefacts insured for $1.6 billion, with some of the oldest pieces more than 3000 years old.
Artefacts such as granite statues, mummified animals and the personal coffin of Ramses II have been carefully flown into the country to create an immersive exhibition telling the story of one of ancient Egypt's longest-serving rulers.
Mostafa Waziry, an archaeologist and secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, says the exhibition will remain in visitors' minds.
"Ramses is something very important for the people, especially here in Australia," he said.
"Most have never had the chance to come to Egypt because of the long distance, so it's like an appetiser for them, to encourage them to come to Egypt.
"We selected the best and the strongest pieces that can travel all over without any kind of slight damage or any problem, which is something really important."
The subject of the exhibit, Ramses II, ascended to the throne in 1279BC, reigning for almost 67 years until his death aged about 92.
During his reign, Ramses' influence stretched south to the far reaches of the Nile and north towards modern-day Turkey, shamelessly self-promoting across the territory and leaving his mark on many monuments that still stand today.
After his death, Ramses was taken to the home of many ancient royal tombs - the Valley of the Kings - before later being relocated by priests after his tomb was looted.
The priests rewrapped Ramses and wrote of the ordeal on his coffin, which was then stored in what is now known as the Royal Cache.
The very coffin discovered by archaeologists in the Royal Cache is being featured at the exhibit in Sydney, among other well-preserved pieces such as gold masks, vases, tablets and other direct possessions of Ramses.
Some of the artefacts on display in Sydney are discoveries made so recently that few have had the chance to see them outside of Egypt.
Australian Museum director Kim McKay says more than 100,000 advance tickets were sold for the exhibit.
"It's unique because Zahi Hawass has curated it, so you've got sort of the best curator you could find who understands Ramses II better than anybody," she said.
"And these pieces are reflective of not just his life as the pharaoh, but it tells the story of why he was called Ramses the Great - he sat on the throne for nearly 67 years. That in itself is remarkable."
Ms McKay also hopes the exhibition will inspire the next generation of curious minds.
"I see those little light bulbs go off in kids' eyes here every day, and that's what makes me thrilled," she said.
"Museums can shift the bar of understanding and they make sure that young people experience something that they wouldn't normally get."
The Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition is at the Australian Museum in Sydney from Saturday until May 2024.
Australian Associated Press